March/April 2020 Newsletter
Friends of the West Shore works toward the preservation, protection, and conservation of the West Shore of Lake Tahoe, our watershed, wildlife, and rural quality of life, for today and future generations.
After a quiet holiday period among our government agencies, planning activities are back in full swing! In addition to the West Shore projects and plans discussed in more detail below, we want to let you know about several changes that will affect the West Shore, including:

  • Placer County adopted new ordinances for vacation rentals which aim to reduce nuisance problems while also supporting the vacation rental industry. Learn more here.
  • A new California law aims to encourage the development of Accessory Dwelling Units or "ADUs" (often referred to as 'Granny' or 'Mother-in-Law' Units) to help address the affordable housing crisis throughout the state. TRPA is currently working to resolve conflicts between the new state law and TRPA's regulations, many involving TRPA's more restrictive regulations established to protect our unique environment (read more about this law and others here).
  • Placer County has approved the use of TOT funding (Transient Occupancy Taxes that are paid by overnight visitors) to support several regional trail and trail improvement projects in the region. Learn more here.

Please continue reading below for more information on West Shore projects and activities. As always, we look forward to your continued feedback and support, and encourage you to contact us with any additional ideas or questions you may have.

Judith Tornese,

PS: After over forty years of classical concerts, the Lake Tahoe Music Festival announced it's final two performances on August 12 and a second date to be determined. This is a result of reduced philanthropic support and the uncertainty regarding the requirements of the new CA employment law AB-5 (employee vs. contractor issue), which will increase employment costs and infrastructure needs. Many West and North Shore residents and visitors have enjoyed these musical events near the lake with family and friends and we are sad to see it end.
Heads up! Placer County is currently offering free transit around the Tahoe/Truckee region! Check it out !
Project updates:
State Route 89 Corridor Planning (Tahoma to South Lake Tahoe):

The draft State Route (SR) 89 Corridor Plan, which will address options to improve traffic and pedestrian conditions in the future (especially at Emerald Bay), will be released soon. The following public meetings are currently scheduled to provide opportunities to learn about the proposed strategies to improve conditions along this West Shore corridor:
Open Houses

When: 4 – 7 p.m.
Where: Grand Hall, Camp Richardson Historic Resort 
When: 4 – 7 p.m.
Where: West Shore Café, Homewood, CA

April 2 - Online from anywhere
When: Noon -1:30 p.m.
RSVP here for the webinar .

To learn more about the SR 89 Recreation Corridor Management Plan and sign up for e-newsletters, visit .
Meeks Bay Resort and Marina:

TRPA will be selecting a contractor soon to prepare the Environmental Impact Report/Study and begin public engagement this spring. Replacement of the Caltrans bridge over SR 89 has tentatively been added to the project analysis, which would require additional agency approvals. At this time, the USFS anticipates release of the draft Environmental Impact Report/Study in the winter of 2021. Learn more here .
Alpine Meadows-Squaw Valley Base-to-Base Gondola:
We have some good news to share! The lawsuit filed by the Protect Granite Chief Initiative citizens' group last August has been settled , with many favorable results. Examples of benefits outlined in the press release include:

  • Squaw Alpine agreed to provide separate funding, to be held in trust by the Truckee Donner Land Trust, for the acquisition of private holdings within the Granite Chief Wilderness Area and high resource value lands and/or conservation easements. Land eligible for purchase with the funds include the area within and adjacent to the Granite Chief Wilderness. In addition, a Conservation Easement will be placed on Lake Estelle and two other lands controlled by Squaw-Alpine for protection from ski lift and other infrastructure development.
  • Squaw Alpine also agreed to operational limits for the gondola designed to mitigate potential noise, visual, and other impacts to the nearby Granite Chief Wilderness, including limiting the operation to no later than April 30.
  • Protections for Sierra Nevada Yellow Legged Frog habitat and funding for future studies and potential habitat restoration are included.

FOWS would like to congratulate the citizens behind the Protect Granite Chief Initiative for their efforts to secure these additional mitigations. The settlement addresses many of the concerns we also expressed about this project.

White Wolf Subdivision Project:

There are no new updates on this project since our last newsletter. However, the settlement agreement on the Alpine Meadows/Squaw Valley gondola includes funding toward the future purchase of privately-held land within the Granite Chief Wilderness Area (GCWA) boundary. The USFS lacked funding for this purchase when the GCWA boundary was originally drawn to include these lands, however it was the desire that they would eventually be purchased for public ownership and protection. In addition, the agreement also prohibits access to the gondola from the proposed White Wolf project. As shown in our last newsletter, the White Wolf Project proposes residential development on this land . We hope the settlement agreement will encourage Placer County to acknowledge and protect these lands from such development.
Other projects: 

  • Homewood Mountain Resort - There are no new updates.
  • Lake Tahoe West Restoration Partnership - The Lake Tahoe West Restoration Partnership has completed a strategy to guide forest restoration activities along Lake Tahoe's West Shore with the goal of increasing the resilience of the landscape and to protect against prolonged drought, climate change, and extreme fire. It is anticipated the Proposed Action will be released in late March or early April for public scoping comments on the upcoming environmental review.
  • Tahoe Keys Proposed Herbicide Use - After the scoping period in 2019, TRPA and Lahontan Regional Water Quality Control Board revised the project to add an alternative requested by public commenters that will investigate the potential to dredge and replace the current channel fill with new fill as a potential treatment method. Learn more here. The draft Environmental Impact Study is anticipated in June 2020.
Regional and local planning updates:
"ONE TAHOE" Transportation Funding Initiative:
ONE TAHOE is an initiative to develop new and additional funding on a long-awaited (and chronically underfunded) extensive transportation system (e.g. transit, bike/pedestrian trails, auto, water borne) . There are no new updates since our last newsletter ).

TRPA Regional Transportation Plan:

TRPA recently announced the kickoff for the next update of the Regional Transportation Plan (updates occur every four years):

"The Tahoe Regional Planning Agency (TRPA) is kicking off an update to the Regional Transportation Plan. The Regional Transportation Plan lays out the vision for the transportation system at Lake Tahoe and focuses on transit, trails, technology, and communities to support the environment, economy, quality of life, and visitor experience...To learn more about the Regional Transportation Plan update , sign up for e-news updates here . We invite you to take a short survey to provide your input at ."
Other ways to support FOWS:

AmazonSmile is a simple way for you to support the Friends of the West Shore every time you shop, at no cost to you . When you shop at , you’ll find the same benefits and ease of shopping on with the added bonus that Amazon will donate a portion of the purchase price to FOWS. Click here  to learn more. When you set up AmazonSmile to support FOWS, simply type Friends of the West Shore into the search bar and FOWS should be top on the list. Hit "Select" and you're done - it's that easy!
eScrip (previously SHARES): 
The eScrip program allows shoppers to designate FOWS to receive donations earned through their purchases; up to 5% of your purchase will be donated to FOWS at no cost to you. Sign up through this link .

* Unfortunately, Save Mart discontinued its participation in the eScrip/S.H.A.R.E.S. program. However, numerous stores throughout California and online retailers ( see list ) will continue to participate!
We invite you to contact us to learn more, ask questions, or simply get to know the FOWS Board. 

Please contact Jennifer Quashnick, FOWS Conservation Consultant, at: , or Judith Tornese, FOWS President, at: .
Friends of the West Shore |